School board briefs
Principal advocates THS orientation day
Tonganoxie High School Principal Tatia Shelton urged the school board to make the first day of school a new student orientation day beginning with the 2006-07 year.
The day would be used to familiarize sophomores with the high school. After the coming school year, when freshmen will attend classes at the high school, it would become freshman orientation.
But board member Ron Moore met the proposal with uncertainty.
He was concerned about losing a day of school because, under the plan, higher classes would not attend school.
He suggested having the orientation the day before school started, but Shelton said that would involve teacher negotiations because it's another day of school.
With the highest dropout rates in high school being between the ninth and 10th grades, she said the orientation could help lower the dropout rate.
The board will discuss the orientation day further at its next meeting May 8.
Board approves $11,370 membership
The school board approved 2006-2007 membership dues for the Kansas Association of School Boards, although dues increased more than $2,000 from this school year.
The board, by a unanimous 7-0 vote, approved the membership and legal assistance fees. Membership will cost $10,269, while legal assistance will cost an extra $1,100.
For the 2005-06 school year, membership was $8,211 and legal assistance at $900.
Superintendent Richard Erickson said he wasn't sure why fees increased so sharply.
"I still think it's a bargain price," Erickson said. "I just know that they provide incredible service to our school district."
Roughly 300 school boards across the state are members of the KASB. Along with lobbying with the Legislature, the organization offers board member training, administrator in-service, policy updating and legal advice.
Board thanks clerk for 20 years of work
Board members thanked longtime board clerk Gail Drake for her years of service to the district.
Drake, who has worked at the board office for 20 years, wrote meeting minutes for the final time Monday.
She's leaving the school district to work at The Mirror newspaper as an advertising representative.
Board members, and Superintendent Richard Erickson, thanked her for her many years of service.
"She's just done a wonderful job at the central office in the 20 years she's been here," he said, adding he considered Drake "a close confidant" and a "good personal adviser."
The board and school administration presented Drake with a plaque recognizing her years with the school district.
The public is invited to a reception honoring Drake from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. today at the board office.
The board also met in executive session for 95 minutes to discuss personnel and attorney-client matters. Afterward, the board:
¢ Accepted resignations of Drake; Mark Poltera, THS English teacher; and Kristin VanMiddlesworth, assistant THS volleyball coach.
¢ Hired fifth-grade teacher Kyle Stadlaman and appointed Ruth Ellis as interim clerk.
¢ Approved coaching contracts for Jeremy Goebel, seventh-grade head football; Mike Sample, seventh-grade assistant football; Mike McClellan, eighth-grade head football; Shannon Crouse, assistant eighth-grade; Sandy Saultz, cheer sponsor; Lindsey Graf, assistant high school volleyball coach; and Kenneth Lott, girls high school soccer. THS will begin a girls soccer program next spring.